Is there anything better than Game Night? Sitting around the big screen, cheering for the home team, enjoying food and drink, chatting with friends and family… what’s not to love? Whether you’re planning a get-together for Monday Night Football or a lazy summer cookout for baseball season, here are some tips to help you make the most of your game night with friends:
Above all else, you want to make certain that your home can accommodate guests. Otherwise, your days hosting game nights are destined to be short and sweet. If you know that your guests are going to arrive early, consider having music playing in the background. Though you may be a diehard Metallica fan, the odds are good that not all of your guests share your sentiments.Create a playlist and choose classic rock or modern pop music instead – both are crowd pleasers and provide a nice background ambiance.
It’s also important that you have sufficient seating for everyone. And it should go without saying that you will want to clean your house before the big day (and yes, this includes your restrooms too). If you have a coffee table in your living room but know that it will impede traffic in and out, consider moving it out of the way. You may also want to bring in extra chairs, pillows, or cushions, so that everyone has a place to sit. Even the smallest and most intimate social circles can quickly exhaust the available seating when all you have is a single couch!
The “Game” (that is, the sporting match) will obviously be the cornerstone of the evening. But having extra games on hand is a great way to entertain your guests before and after the whistle blows. But where to start? It seems that there are millions of games to choose from these days. If you’re having a hard time determining what games to include, classics like Charades, Taboo, Apples to Apples, and Pictionary are good bets. These games are easy to pick up, easy to play, and can be completed in a relatively short amount of time. Remember, you may like Monopoly or Risk, but your guests want to go home at the end of the night!
We can’t discuss group games without mentioning popular mobile games, like Heads Up!, as well. Tablets and smartphones are incredibly engaging, as you likely know. You may just find that playing a group game on your iPad or Samsung Galaxy smartphone is just as fun as a traditional board game, if not more so (plus, there’s no cleanup!). If you do decide to play a game on your mobile device, take note: make sure that you have ample battery life or keep the device plugged in. Thankfully, many of today’s modern mobile processors feature Quick Charging so you can get your device up and running in no time.
Food, food, food! Make no mistake, it is an absolute pre-requisite! But what kind of food should you provide? It’s a question with many answers. If you’re hosting a summer cookout, hot dogs and hamburgers are a good choice, though be sure to have a couple of veggie burgers or turkey burgers on hand just in case you have some vegetarians or non-red meat eaters among the group. And don’t forget the toppings, either. Lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and perhaps even some pre-cooked bacon can go a long way to transforming a basic hamburger into a stand-out hamburger.
If you plan on hosting a slightly more low-key affair, small bites is the way to go. Keep it simple: cheese, crackers, cured meats, honey, grapes and raisins can be combined to make nearly limitless flavor profiles, and have the added benefit of looking great on a plate as well. Needless to say, a home-made charcuterie and cheese board will definitely impress your friends! Finally, don’t forget the beverages. Of course, BYOB is always an option, but it doesn’t hurt to have some beer and wine in reserve. And don’t forget the non-alcoholic drinks, either. As with the hot dogs and burgers, it’s important to have alternative options on hand for friends with dietary habits different than your own.
If you’re looking for an evening with friends that’s full of social interaction without doing the same ol’ thing and also without spending too much money, try hosting a game and dinner night. You might just find another avenue of entertainment to add to your repertoire!